Pan fried John Dory from John Lawson

Photo: John Lawson's John Dory

John Lawson, head chef at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar, shares his recipe of pan fried John Dory fillet with fennel puree, mussels and tomato essence; a simple and fresh dish that is perfect to enjoy on a warm summer’s day.   

John is known for letting the produce be the hero of the plate and combines his traditional French cooking techniques in a modern context at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar creating a menu of comforting dishes that burst with big flavours.

Make sure you check out the two events Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar is hosting during the Festival:

The Chef and the Butcher featuring John’s butcher Felice Marandola in a lively lunch masterclass on 9 March.

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar - Food from the Jura on 13 March with John using local produce matched to gems from Philippe Bornard’s wines from the Jura region in eastern France.

From 4 – 8 March Many of Crown’s world class restaurants will feature special menus and dishes exclusively designed for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Visit to find out how to experience world class chefs such as Nobu Matsuhisa, John Lawson, Guillaume Brahimi and Donovan Cooke.


600g John Dory fillets

8 Spring Bay mussels

Tomato essence:

600g cherry tomatoes

20g celery

1 whole shallot

30g fennel

1 clove garlic

3 sprigs thyme

1 sprig tarragon

10g basil leaves

6g salt

10g sugar


1 large Nicola potatoe (peeled)

150g olive oil

1 sprig thyme

1 clove garlic


Fennel puree

500g diced fennel

½ shallot sliced

1 clove garlic

200ml olive oil


Tomato Essence -

Chop all vegetables into a rough dice and add all remaining ingredients.

Leave to infuse for one hour.

In small batches, pulse using a food processor or blender for a few seconds.

Place the tomato mixture in a thick cloth or towel above a bowl. Or hang the towel and use a string to elevate the mixture.

The mixture will begin to clarify and will take 24 hours until all juice has been extracted. 

Potatoes -

Slice the potato ½ cm thickness and place into a thick bottomed pan and cover with all the ingredients and simmer until just cooked. Cool down in the liquid and leave at room temperature until required.

Fennel Puree -

Add ½ the olive oil to the pan with the shallots the fennel and the garlic, until completely soft. Blend with remaining olive oil and salt to taste.

To serve - 

Pan fry the fillets in canola/vegetable oil until light golden brown for 5-6 minutes.

Arrange the fennel puree and potatoes on the base of the plate and place the fish on top. Garnish with fresh chervil or chive.

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